Tub Time Tips

Luna Lou when she was itty bitty

Bath time can be a stressful time for our pets but also for us! Here are a few tips that have helped us make bath time a little more enjoyable for everyone.

Sweet Talkin’

Our girls are not fans of water at all. Dallas will tiptoe around a puddle if she can. Therefore, I do what I can to make it as pleasant as possible. Lucky for them, I used to be a hairstylist and give a mean scrub and massage. But before we get to the rubby-dubby stuff I start with a warm bath and some sweet talking. I run the tub with warm water and double check the temp before letting them in. I call them over with positive energy and promises of treats. One really important thing to have is an anti-slip mat for your tub. It really helps them stand and feel more confident in the bath. Also, don’t forget to get your supplies ready beforehand. You don’t want to leave your dog unsupervised in the bath while you are running around getting stuff. Make sure you have your shampoo, towels, cup, and something to put under your knees.

Let’s Talk ‘Poo

I like to keep it simple. Our dogs, being bulldogs, can have skin irritations so I use a shampoo that is formulated for sensitive skin and has little to no scent. Just like humans, dogs all have different needs and that should be taken into consideration when choosing their shampoo. As I mentioned, I stay away from strong smelling shampoos. As tempting as it is to buy the luxurious smelling dog shampoo and how nice it would be for us to snuggle our noses into their perfumed fur, you have to remember how sensitive dogs noses are and also those strong perfumes can be drying on their skin.

Washing Off the Stink

Once they are in the tub, I take a cup and scoop the warm water and get them all wet. I am very careful not to get water in their face and ears. Using cotton balls in their ears can help, just don’t push them too far in. I just use my one hand to hold her ears out of the way while I carefully pour water behind her ears. I avoid washing their face and just use a wash cloth. Next, I add soap to my hands and start scrubbing. Don’t forget to get into all those nooks and crannies…that includes the stinky tail pocket if she has one. I rinse her all off and then do a second shampoo. This time I let it sit on while I give her one of my super massages and good butt scratches. I now do a final rinse and continue until all soap is gone. You really want to make sure you get it all off or it can cause irritation. I follow that with a rub with my hands to try and get some water off before taking them out of the tub. I like to have a couple towels on the floor layered open on top of each other. It doesn’t matter how many towels I have though, I still end up getting a shower too. It is what it is! Good thing they are cute, right?! After they have shaken all the water off themselves and all over your bathroom (sorry, no tip for that one…if you have one, please share!) give them a good towel dry. If you have a bulldog or any other wrinkly faced pooch, make sure to dry their wrinkles well. Same goes for that tail pocket. I like to use my blow dryer on low with a few shots of cool to dry the tail pocket.

Remember, you don’t have to bathe your dog too often. Just like people, washing too often will strip them of their natural oils. Usually the nose knows. If they are smelling a little wild, we bathe. That is usually every couple months. During allergy season we bathe more often. But just like anything, if you aren’t sure…ask your vet.

Rocky Update!

Rocky feeling frisky after her bath

I thought this would be a great time to show off how our little Rocky is doing. Rocky is Luna and Will’s offspring and is over a year old now. She is loved and cared for exceptionally well at our good friend and neighbors (love you guys!).

They named her Rocky because she was the scrappiest out of the litter and the only female (she had to keep those boys in line!). She has grown into the sweetest girl with the most beautiful fawn red coat.

Jayron’s Up In Smoke–aka “Magic”

Her health testing has come back clear and we’re looking forward to her first litter in the spring with Jayron’s Up in Smoke a.k.a. Magic owned by Yvonne Poire of Full of Bull Bulldogs and Brenda Jackson of Bredan Bullies.

Here are a few pictures of Rocky as a pup and now.

That Was a Sneeze?

Daisy face post-sneeze

The first time I heard Dallas reverse sneeze I went into complete emergency mom mode (a.k.a. fully freak out and panic). It sounded horrible and nothing, nothing like a sneeze! It sounded more like a honking angry goose but way louder. If you have never seen a dog reverse sneezing, I suggest you google it. It’s pretty crazy.

Reverse sneezing is pretty common in our home and as I said, it is alarming to hear, but it is normal and nothing to be concerned about. It occurs when the dog’s soft palate is irritated. The soft palate can become irritated by many things such as:

  • allergies
  • household products
  • scents
  • having their collar pulled
  • excessive exercise
  • nasal mites
  • viral infections

These irritants can cause a spasm that triggers the trachea to narrow and in turn , the dog will try to get extra air into its lungs by stretching his neck and opening his chest. When he fails to get the air through his trachea, he will then forcefully pull air through his nose which causes the backwards sneeze.

Now I know I said that it is nothing to be concerned about but it may be a good idea to take a video of your pet in action and have your vet take a look at it to make sure that it is in fact just a reverse sneeze and not some other condition. Also, if it is something that is happening chronically then you may want to bring that up to your vet as well.

Reverse sneezing, also known as Paroxysmal Respiration, doesn’t require any medical attention. I’ve read that you can cover their nostrils which forces them to swallow which could help eliminate whatever is irritating their throat but I like to give “mom attention” instead. I try and soothe her by speaking softly and trying to calm her while gently rubbing her throat. It usually passes within 30 seconds although it does feel much longer.

Why I do What I do

Biggie with his fam!

People ask me all the time “how do you do it? How do you raise these puppies and then send them off to other families?!” To be honest, I used to wonder myself how other breeders did it. How could they say good bye to these little nuggets that they have been raising for the last couple months or more? Not until I started breeding dogs myself did I truly understand.

I am completely invested in my dogs. I am home with them 24 hours a day. They are my pets and my babies. I spend hours reading, learning, training, testing…doing whatever I can to make sure they are healthy and happy and living their best lives. When the puppies are born, I sleep in the puppy room with them and the mom for at least 4-6 weeks (although the last litter I was with them for 8 weeks). It is just like raising my boys when they were babies. You sleep with one ear and eye on those babies. It is the hardest job I have ever had next to raising my kids (although my husband and I think that raising puppies seems harder at times). And to be truthful, I am so tired by the end (waking up every 2 hours, cleaning up constant poop storms…it can take its toll on anyone after awhile!), that I am looking forward to a little break!

Tanti and Santi with their awesome new family!

I am so grateful for social media. It allows me to see my beautiful puppies grow with their new families. There is nothing better than to see a child snuggling with their new best buddy, knowing that they are going to grow up together and that I had something to do with that. Don’t get me wrong, there are tears every time I see them leave. It doesn’t get much easier. But seeing how happy the families are. To get feedback that they are loving their new family member and that their family is now more complete because of my hard work, fills my heart with love and complete satisfaction.

Essential Oils for our Dogs

Ok..not a summer pic but you get the idea 🙂

I live for summertime! However, I do not enjoy the bugs and neither do my furry girls. We love going for hikes but I get so paranoid that we are going to bring some critters back with us but I know that human bug spray is a big no-no for dogs. What is a dog mom to do!? Well after some research and testing, I found a natural solution that works for us.

I do not like using a lot of chemicals in my home, on my children or on myself and I feel the same about my dogs. After a little research, I found that essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus, citronella and rosemary have been proven effective bug repellents. I know that this isn’t breaking news (I’m a little slow to the essential oils game) but for me a lightbulb came on.

I don’t know about you but I am sensitive to scents. Too much of anything will eventually give me a headache. So the idea of spraying my dog with lemongrass or lavender sounds great at first but would drive me crazy after awhile. If it is strong for me, can you imagine how strong it would be for a dog whose sense of smell it so much stronger than ours!

La Jolie Frenchie macrame leash

That is where the La Jolie Frenchie cotton macramĂ© leash comes in handy. Being made from 100% cotton, it is the perfect “diffuser” for your pooch. It allows you to spray the leash or the tassel with the essential oil of your choice before going on your walk. For example, sweet orange is great at repelling fleas and ticks. You can spray your tassel (which can be clipped to the carabiner by the way, if you want more exposure) or the leash directly and feel protected in a cloud of lovely essential oils but you can rest assured knowing that you can take it off after your walk so you and your dog don’t have to smell it all night. Essential oils are great but not all dogs tolerate the oils directly on their skin. This is a way to include essential oils without drowning your pet in the scents.

Some great oils to try are:

  • lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemon eucalyptus — repel fleas, ticks and mosquitos
  • lavender–calm and sooth. Might help your nervous pet when going to the vet
  • bergamot–ease anxiety and stress

If you are trying these scents for the first time on your pup, take it slow and only use a little bit. If you see any signs of abnormal behavior, take your dog away from the smell immediately and into some fresh air. If that doesn’t help, see a vet. Also, essential oils are not to be used on puppies, pregnant dogs, senior dogs or toy dogs. Further, please do not use oils that were created only to infuse scents in your home. They will be ineffective and could cause harm. And keep in mind, the smaller the dog, the less you should use. If you have any concerns, please see a vet. I am not a vet. I am only a lover of dogs who loves to share my experience with you.

For your very own La Jolie Frenchie leash visit

Www.lajoliefrenchie.etsy.com

Experiencing Loss as a Breeder

Our little Wilma

I have hesitated to write this blog. It has been a very traumatic time in my home these last few weeks. Not many people are aware that we lost Luna and Will’s litter. All three. I am not going to get into why we lost them in this post. I will do that in the future when I am feeling stronger to talk about it. Today I want to talk about the emotional wave of grief that we experience as breeders.

People assume that my life is full of skunky puppy dog licks and snuggles. For the most part, they are right. I am very grateful that I have been given this opportunity to bring joy into my home and into the home of others. But there is another side (actually there are many sides that aren’t always discussed…but again…that’s another post). I have been lucky that we have had healthy litters and dogs and been without tragedy. I knew it was an inevitable part of a breeder’s life but knowing this was not enough to protect me from the pain.

I am a believer that Mother Nature knows what she is doing. When a puppy is born extremely weak or ill and can’t be revived, I believe that it is what was meant to be even though it is still hard to witness. But when a puppy seems to be thriving and you nurture, love and care for it just to watch it one day slip away, it is heart wrenching. Even as I write this, the words become blurry as I fight back tears. I love my puppies…every one of them. I will do everything possible to give them the best start in life. I will buy whatever machine and medicine it takes. I will call every vet and breeder I know for help and support. I will research every article, podcast and video available to me. I will not sleep for days as I listen to every little breath that comes out of those little bodies. Unfortunately, it sometimes isn’t enough.

Vile of plasma

They say with time, these experiences will become easier. I hope they are right, but I am not that confident. I do know one thing though. This will not stop me from my commitment to breeding the healthiest, most beautiful, sweetest bulldogs I can. I promise to use these times to learn more and add to my breeder’s “toolbox”. For example, we will be administering fresh plasma to each puppy during it’s first 24 hours of life (such a great start to a puppy’s life! I will do a post about that as well!) I’ve added a new oxygenator and have a plan for a progesterone testing machine. These are the tools that give me the confidence to give these puppies everything that they deserve.

Twas’ the Week before Whelping…

That is one sucky momma

We are one week out from Luna’s C-section (“you keep cooking those puppies up good in there Luna Loo!”) and it is definelty crunch time and we are all feeling it. Poor Luna is busting. I feel for her. She is bigger than she ever was during her last 2 litters and has been suffering from morning sickness from the start. I have been handfeeding her since the first trimester. Since she is isn’t feeling well, she is very picky with her food. We have tried everything. I usually go down a list of different food options until there is something that she will agree to eat. This morning (well late morning by the time she ate) I cooked her up some ground turkey and white rice. Thank goodness she gobbled that up.

New security camera set up!
The puppy area is Daisy approved

And although Luna is an amazing mom and bounces back super fast (she will be ready for bikini season before you know it!) I feel good about this being her last litter. She has done an amazing job and will continue to have an important part in our hearts, our home and our breeding program as well by offering socialization to future puppies from our other moms!

Roasting eggshells in the oven to grind them into a calcium supplement for nursing mom

Nesting is in full swing … for me that is. I can’t help but get excited and anxious as I try to get everything ready for the upcoming litter. I do this by getting the puppy area ready but also by researching and bettering myself any chance I get. There is always room for improvement and I have added a few more “tools” to my toolbox that I feel real good about.

This week is about making mum feel good and hopefully getting in some good sleep before the big day because you know that it will be hard to come by next week!

What I Look for in a Puppy Applicant

I love this little family!

There is a lot of information out there regarding how to find a reputable breeder but I think it is just as important, if not more, for the breeder to select the right buyer. They have the responsibility to make sure that the puppy goes to the right home and that it is a good fit for both the puppy and the buyer. I wanted to share with you some of the questions I ask on my puppy application and what I am looking for in a prospective puppy home.

Biggie and Rocky right before going to their forever homes

I always say that it takes a special person to take care of a bulldog. They have special needs that have to be taken care of daily. Not everyone is up for that. It wouldn’t take much neglect to really see its effects on the dog. Therefore, I really want to know that a person knows what they are getting into. I know that bulldogs are cute, funny and super-trendy right now but is that the only reason you want one? I want to know the “why”. How long have you wanted a bulldog? How long have you thought of this and how much research have you really done? Are you wanting a puppy because of Covid-19 and you are currently working from home? What happens when you return to work? Will the dog suddenly be left on its own for lengthy stretches at a time? Through these questions and a little intuition, I try and decipher if the potential buyer will make a good bulldog owner.

As I already mentioned, grooming and daily care is a big responsibility for an English or French bulldog owner. Bulldogs require more care and are one of the more expensive breeds to own. They require high quality, grain-free diets. They need wrinkle creams, butt wipes, cooling matts, and coats just to name a few things. They also tend to suffer more from skin issues and allergies. People need to know what they are getting into beforehand. The last thing any breeder wants is to see the puppy being rehomed due to a bad pairing.

I was talking to my 9 year old son the other day about this very topic. He asked me why I had people fill out applications. I explained that the first reason is that it filters out people just by asking them to apply. People that are serious about adopting a puppy will not hesitate to fill one out. Secondly, we want to make sure that our puppies are going to good homes and are going to live their best lives possible. Asking the right questions helps us make a good match. There are people that are open to sharing their personal stories with me. I find these are the people that make the best homes for bulldogs.

These are just a few questions that I like to ask. I hope that by asking the right questions and trusting my intuition, that I make the right choices. These puppies are my babies and my responsibility. An active, loving family that truly appreciates the puppy is all I want for my babies. There is nothing better than receiving a picture of a past puppy with their forever family and knowing that I helped make that family complete.